are respected more in the Southeastern Conference than Mizzou linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Dave Steckel.
This year marked Steckel’s sixth season as defensive coordinator and 14th as linebackers coach.
The Mizzou Football defense under Steckel has thrived, especially in recent years. In 2013, Mizzou led the SEC in interceptions (20), turnovers forced (32), tackles for loss (7.7 per game) and sacks (2.93 per game).
This season, in conference games, Mizzou’s defense ranked first in the SEC in yards allowed (300.8 per game), rushing yards allowed (115.0 per game), and second in passing yards allowed (185.8 per game).
Naturally, Steckel is beloved by his players, including Mizzou Made star and 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam.
“He taught me a lot,” Sam said. “He taught me about the game. As a defensive player you’ve got to have attention, you’ve got to have passion, you’ve got to love this sport, and he taught me so much over the years.”
Mizzou Made Sean Weatherspoon, who was an all-conference linebacker three times under Steckel (2007-2009) and is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons, also believes Steckel has played an instrumental role in Mizzou’s success.
“He’s just the perfect guy to coach linebackers and being a coordinator of a defense,” Weatherspoon said. “When I went to Mizzou, he treated me like I was his son, and I think the guys get that feel from him and they love playing for him.”
See Steckel and the Mizzou defense back in action on New Year’s Day when Mizzou Football takes on Minnesota in the 2014 Citrus Bowl. Tickets are currently available online, and Mizzou Football will post live updates on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook throughout the game.